Placemaking is a multi-faceted approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces. Placemaking capitalizes on a local community's assets, inspiration and potential, with the intention of creating public spaces that promote people's health, happiness and well-being. Placemaking at WSU will foster “lingering longer” and encourage visitors to explore the many offerings of WSU's campus.

Meet Kristin Beal

Kristin Beal is an arts advocate, administrator and culture producer. She currently serves as Wichita State University (WSU) Placemaking and Special Projects manager and guest lecturer in the Master of Arts Administration program for the WSU College of Fine Arts. In 2014 Beal co-founded Harvester Arts with Kate Van Steenhuyse and Ryan Gates and serves as executive director for the nonprofit organization that provides a platform for visual arts experimentation, community engagement and professional development. She studied at the Kansas City Art Institute, Wichita State University (BFA Drawing and Painting) and Virginia Commonwealth University (MFA Painting and Printmaking). Kristin Beal has worked extensively as a grant facilitator with local artists to realize projects through Harvester Arts with the Wichita Arts Council, The Knight Foundation and The NEA. She has exhibited nationally and internationally and pursues projects that explore various means of collaboration and creative action via community-based art projects.

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Kristin Beal

Placemaking Components

Shocker Pod 1 Installation

Enhancement of Place/Physical Environment

Placemaking projects help create a sense of place and enhance connectivity and walkability. The strategy calls for creating activations that fill spatial voids along the pedestrian walkway. Lingering longer will be encouraged by adding recreational elements such as Frisbee golf, hammocks and swings at the area east of Food Truck Lake.

The new unveiling of the Shocker Pods will also encourage students and visitors to sit and enjoy the scenery at Wichita State. There will be three Shocker Pods introduced: one centered around the theme of love and commitment, one with yellow & black stained glass, and finally one with vines of trumpet creeper (a native Kansas plant). This new space will promote interactions among the different cohorts using the area: residents of the Flats and Suites, community employees and food truck customers among others visitors.

Line at WSU Pep Rally

Attracting new audiences to campus

This category is focused on encouraging people already on campus to linger longer and to attract new external audiences to campus. This is a campus-wide endeavor to partner and bring community members to our campus and WSU to the community.

Some exciting events include the now annual Pep Rally, which introduced our new Shocker Sound and basketball teams at the beginning of their season. Wichita State also introduced the Sip & See event, bringing together students, faculty & staff, and community members alike for fun, trivia, cornhole, and music to celebrate Braeburn Square. Finally, the installation of the Pet Pathway will bring more Wichitans and their dogs to campus to enjoy a scenic walk.  

Delilah Reed Bugs

Student/Faculty Engagement


Applied learning opportunities is a key part of the placemaking initiative. Students enrolled in Community & Social Practices in the School of Fine Arts have played an instrumental role in the Wulip Garden installation – building flowers and creating the unveiling event and related social media campaign.  A 3-D Sculpture class also assisted with building the flowers.

WSU's ShiftSpace hosted artist Delilah Reed who gave a presentation to painting students about transitioning from small-scale work to large-scale murals. Reed painted the electrical boxes (seen above) along the Innovation Campus promenade and has engaged three ShiftSpace students in apprentice roles to do prep work and background painting. Reed and Ty also met with entomology students to identify plants and bugs indigenous to Kansas for authentic inclusion in the artwork.

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